Thursday, July 31, 2008

Staying Active with MS

Staying active isn't always the easiest. With MS or NOT. Our lives are busy, hectic, stress filled and we're lucky if there is enough time in the day to think let alone be "active". Add to the mix a disease that makes mobility a challenge and energy levels often non-existent and it becomes that much easier just to "park it" on the couch. Perfect. NOT. Having balance and mobility issues makes it even MORE important to keep moving. What you don't use, you lose. Especially when it comes to core strength. Our core stregnth greatly impacts our balance as well. So, if your core is weak, your at even greater risk for balance problems. Not to mention back problems as well! There are a lot of exercises you can do to help strengthen your core muscles. Most of the exercises I do for my core are actually done sitting down! (So being in a wheelchair or having poor balance is no excuse). RIDING is a GREAT exercise for your core. There are a lot of therapeutic riding centers. Find the one in your area. Contact your MD and ask for a physical therapy evaluation. Work with a physical therapist to design a program specifically for you. PT is covered by insurance and a lot of insurance carriers WILL cover the cost of a therapeutic riding program is well. (They may deny it the first time, but if you appeal and your Neurologist writes a letter, they will reconsider). Another thing I suggest for helping your balance and core: Wii. Yep. Wii. Wii has a fitness program called "Wii Fit". It comes with a special platform that you stand on. (Although not all the games require the use of the board). The program has Yoga, Aerobics and balance games. I can't do the aerobics, but I enjoy the Yoga portion as well as some of the balance games. Yoga is a great exercise for MSers and easily modified. Again, some insurance carries will cover the cost if it's a prescribed therapy. (The yoga, not the Wii). Of course, this is where the safety warning is issued. CHECK WITH YOU DOCTOR BEFORE STARTING ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM. There, now that's out of the way. Another reminder for MSers: Watch the heat. If your going to increase your physical activity remember to monitor how your body is tolerating the heat. Both the external temperature as well as your internal temperature. Don't over do. Start slow. Just keep moving and stay as active as you can be! It will make a BIG difference. Not only physically but psychologically as well.

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